2021 Match Reports

Pembrokeshire Tour 10-13 Sept 2021: Llanrhian CC - Won 1, Lost 1

Day 1

Invariably, all great stories rather appropriately start at the beginning, so I see no better place to begin our story than giving the reader the briefest of history lessons.

In a village hostelry on a cold winter’s eve, our founding father Barrie ‘Bazza’ Walshe with help from some likeminded rogues, conjured up a cricket club. In a baptism of fire, blessed by hop & barley infused holy water, Vagabonds Cricket Club was born. Baz declared “from this day forth all members will honour & respect the Vagabonds 7 principles”.

I won’t list them all or indeed any, but it is worth noting that 4 of these 7 principles we all hold so dear involve drinking alcohol. I believe it is fair to say this is also why all members find it so easy to adhere to them!

With quill in hand, Baz hastily scrawled the 7 principles onto parchment, proclaiming “And so it shall be” followed by “All members of this club shall be required to don a red & pink striped blazer at all cricketing events forever more”.

Soon after this declaration, fresh faced, newly appointed members had to re-mortgage their houses or sell the family silver to pay Baz for the blazers they had unwittingly agreed to purchase before realising the cost!

And so, it was decreed, and so it began. Plenty of warm tales and cold ales later, a considerable amount of nurture and enthusiastic life lessons, the fledging club grew. From its infancy, childhood, and dysfunctional adolescent years long into old age, the club has grown older, stronger, and wiser thanks to Baz and his parenthood!

Fast forward 41 years, many flagons of ale, and tales of cricketing triumphs, failures, marvels, and misdemeanours, we find ourselves here. The date, Friday 10th September 2021. The occasion, Vagabonds CC Tour. Location, Llanrhian, St Davids, Pembrokeshire.

Before we go any further, let me take you back a couple of years to a time where the world seemed a happier place. Not so far back that we could dream of remaining in the EU but to a time when it was perfectly acceptable to plan a cricket tour that paid a fitting tribute to the clubs 40th anniversary without fear of Covid and restrictions on travel.

No better location could be considered than the place where myth and legends were born during Vagabond tours of yore and a return to Pembrokeshire to play Llanrhian CC. was agreed. The very first club the Vagabonds visited on their first ever cricketing tour.

As is well documented, Covid scuppered most of the world’s plan and the Vags tour of 2020 was no exception. Refusing to be defeated, plans were hastily re-arranged by the tour master general, Stevie Hyde as he single handedly shifted everything, lock, stock, and barrel to 2021.

And so here we are. The Vagabonds CC Tour of 2020 nay 2021. Huzzah!!!

Everyone’s tour beginnings on this overcast day in September were unique, but no matter where we woke or whom we woke next to we all embarked on the same pilgrimage. Following in the well-trodden footsteps of Vagabond elders we made our way to Welsh Wales – Destination Llanrhian.

Our rendezvous point was ‘The Sloop’ the finest pub Llanrhian has to offer. Technically, the only pub Llanrhian has to offer but fine none the less. Located in an old brickworks on the costal edge, with spectacular views out to sea, it sat next to ‘The Shed’ a charming little café/restaurant. What more could a tourist wish for!?

Skip, Tris, Sammy, and I, made good time and arrived a little earlier than everyone else, so we bagged the penthouse suite at our lodgings, a converted farm outhouse a mile or so from the Sloop. The accommodation was comfortable, if a little basic for a Vagabonds discerning taste but lovely nevertheless. It would be home for the next few days, and you would have been hard pushed to find somewhere large enough to host us all in such a remote location. With a picturesque view of farmland and a grumpy bullock in the neighbouring field it didn’t get more rural than this and instantly felt like home.

We dropped our bags and ventured down to the pub. As nobody else was there, we decided to treat ourselves to a lovely 3 course meal and a couple of bottles of wine at The Shed. Upon rolling out an hour or so later the first of the second wave of Vags had arrived and had made base camp outside of The Sloop.

One by one we all arrived. Each party welcoming the next and ensuring a fresh glass of ale was pressed deep into their hand. The ale and conversation flowed with the excitement and enthusiasm you would expect from a social team that has finally been released from their lockdown. At last, we could all enjoy the sorely missed freedoms of a cricket tour.

Most tourists had arrived and without warning, a snap election was called by the Colonel! All tourists had to declare which constituency they would represent for the duration of the tour – By default this was also the town / city of their birth so relatively easy (for most) to work out.

For the benefit of the reader, please find election results below (in no particular order).

RichMadam SpeakerRt Hon MemWatford
TriusVagabond PartyRt Hon MemBasingstoke
SammyVagabond PartyRt Hon MemGlasgow
RoscoVagabond PartyRt Hon MemCrewe
StevieVagabond PartyRt Hon MemNottingham
StuiIndependence PartyRt Hon MemEdinburgh
Tom PVagabond PartyRt Hon MemWinchester
JeggsVagabond PartyRt Hon MemTooting
TrevVagabond PartyRt Hon MemBrad’ On Avon
WillChaos PartyRt Hon MemHam’ & Fulham
KenVagabond PartyRt Hon MemCarlisle
JackVagabond PartyRt Hon MemBarnet
ChrisBeer CaddyNon-Elect
PC WallerBeer WallerNon-Elect
Tom NJam BoyNon-Elect

Thereafter, christened names may no longer be used, left hand drinking was implemented, and pointing with either hand was forbidden! Failure to comply with any of these rules of parliament would culminate in an on-the-spot punishment of a 2-finger drink of your current beverage. Any dispute would be raised with the speaker of the house, AKA Skip, AKA Madam Speaker who like always had the final word!

This left the fatter fingered Vagabonds at a distinct disadvantage to the others, but we all embraced the new rules and continued to take fine after fine as we all tried to remember the rules in our own good time. This inevitably becomes harder the more times you break the rules and punishments accrued. One hour later, it is fair to say we were all very merry indeed!

Some of us took a little longer than others to get up to speed with the new rules. Nowhere was this more evident than with The Right Honourable Member for Edinburgh AKA Stui McPointy Righthand Drinking Christened Name User Davidson.

With much protest and indignation, he was very slow on the uptake of the new rules and as he had already transitioned onto the red wine and 2 of his Scottish porkies was the equivalent to a half glass of Pinot Noir, we were very close to being a man down before night fall!

The keener eyed reader would have noticed that three of the listed members were non-elect, with no constituency and some may think that they did not have a valuable role to play in this freshly appointed parliament. Well, you would be wrong!

By late afternoon, Messrs Waller & Nokes arrive. After the initial warm welcome, it was apparent that they had turned up on yet another tour and still hadn’t invested in a club blazer! DISGRACEFUL! There was uproar!

Not only were they sans blazer, they hadn’t even shown the courtesy and respect to the club by donning one of the new club t-shirts (a fine article of top quality shmutter, if a little hazardous close to an open flame) nor had they even, anything pink or red in any shape or form! Suffice to say, there was mutterings amongst members! ‘order’ was called for and a ruling had to be made.

Being a member of parliament was a thirsty business! As a result, glasses were emptying quicker than we could fill them. If only we had somebody to replenish our glasses every time they emptied! If only there were two Vagabonds that had flatly refused to purchase blazers and needed to be shown the error of their ways. Hmmmm.

I introduce to you, PC Beer Waller Davis and Jamboy Nokes.

A Punkha Wallah was the servant who operated the fan for their employer to keep them cool in hot, colonial India. In this instance, we just needed someone to keep us cool and hydrated by bringing us cold beers from the bar. ‘Beer Waller Davis, it’s your time to shine.’

We’re not heartless and appreciate that two servants are far better than one and Master Nokes was appointed, Jamboy.

The Jam Boy accompanied golfers and caddies in the early 1800’s and wore a hat covered in jam. This was designed to attract flies and keep them away from the players. When the British gentry went to play golf, they would have two men, the Caddy, and a Jam Boy. The Jam Boy’s sole purpose was to keep the mosquitoes away from the golfer. In this instance it was simply to assist the Beer Waller.

It all seemed rather fitting. It was supported by all members of the house and the motion was passed!

Chris the other non-blazered member was a lot later to the party and therefore missed an appointment and an official title. You would think reading this he got away with any form of punishment. Again, I fear you would be wrong. Not only did he help Waller & Jamboy he truly earned his position as the Caddy in this fateful trio as he is terrible at golf! Over the duration of the tour, he managed to consume more beer to stray golf balls than I have ever witnessed. Much to everyone’s amusement.

I should wrap things up now. In short, the merriment continued into the night. Parliament had been opened, positions appointed and everyone and everything was in place for the makings of a fantastic tour, and it didn’t disappoint. You couldn’t have asked for a better start. We drank long into the night, only breaking for sustenance in the way of beige food to see us through to the next pint. We all made it back to our lodgings one way or another and slept until daybreak whereby I shall give way to my fellow scribes for days 2, 3 & 4.

Before I go, a special mention needs to be made to a few people.

Big thanks to Stevie Hyde for organising another great, memorable tour, Llanrhian CC for being such welcoming hosts, providing fun opposition, top teas and getting involved with post-match beers and golf ball shenanigan’s. And not forgetting all Vags that made it away and helped make it another fun, successful tour. I salute you all.

Cheers,

Rosco.

Day 2

“Drinking is just borrowing happiness from tomorrow” – Acts, Chapter 4, Verse 10 (probably).

Chapter One: The Morning

Waking up is tough at the best of times. Getting up is even tougher. It is its hardest when an overfull cheerful Northerner bursts into your room after a night on the ale. When not scurrying down mines or punching horses, the Vagabonds own Pet Northerner enjoys running. He claims it is for pleasure, but it is suspected that as he has a strange accent (and therefore presumably a member of the criminal underclasses) that his obsession with running is actually practice for escaping from the clutches of The Rozzers. Chris, for some oddly baffling reason had decided to drive over 200 miles to go for a run. He even decided he would rather run around a specific bit of park rather than go out with fellow cricketers the night before. This all showed one thing: Chris had disease of the mind and therefore must be punished. And punished he was, but more on that later.

Having been aroused (both senses of the word) by the bubbly northern fellow the rest of the Vags trudged off to a local Café for more brown foods and brown drinks. In what must be reminiscent of the Test selectors meeting, The Honourable Member for Watford scribbled down that days team on the back of a fag packet. The two scorers (The Honourable Members for Edinburgh and Tooting) immediately went to fill a picnic hamper with beer and whiskey. If we had to converse with Local Welsh people, we would at least be drunk.

Chapter Two: The Cricket

And so the day arrived. 13 Vagabonds had travelled across national boarders to see who play. In a strange turn of events the Vagabonds self styled “international scoring committee” ended up scoring. For data protection reasons I am not allowed to say who the two scorers were, but needless to say Stuie and Jeggs did not bat, field or bowl.

I assume the Vags won the toss, as for the sake of the tour we had to fucking win something.

Stevie Hyde (The Honourable Member for Nottigham) opened the bowling. As surprised as I was that was Stevie was from Nottingham was nothing in comparison to our second slip who was so surprised the first ball went past him for 4. Good, things can only get better.

We were wrong.

The second over went better. With his first ball an excitable Will Perton (the Member for Hammersmith and Fulham*) took out their opener. I would love to say the fact that the Vags had two scorers meant that we had a thorough memory of how this wicket was taken, but we don’t. Jeggs and Stweie were partaking in some extra curricular activates.

I am well aware that nobody reading this is in anyway interested in the Cricket. As a short summary we won. Tris fell agonizingly short of a half century in response to the oppositions 120. His 40-odd ensured that we hit the target of 120 (thanks mainly in oart to Wills 3 for) with several overs to spare.

The Welsh people were lovely I assume, very hard to tell with the accents. Jeggs and Stewie managed to scurry away with their score books under their arms to the pub.

Dear reader, I assume you are reading this missive for one reason; to hear about the pub.

Chapter Three: The Debauchery

My previous scribe correctly described The Sloop as a delightful inn offering fine food and excellent ales. That description is entirely appropriate and backed up by TripAdvisor. That was until a dozen blazer bedecked reprobates decided to visit.

After an infamous victory the Vagabonds decided that the small Welsh port of Porthgain would probably like to celebrate with us. Oh how wrong we were…

The Sloop was happy to have us at first, with various mortals of a lesser standing running to the bar frequently we were seen as quite a novelty. But soon after an adventure in which some Vags saw baby Seals, and two just threw rocks at other rocks, things began to unravel.

One of the more senior Vagabond (The Honorable Member for somewhere or other) declared that there was to an awards ceremony. Whilst the majority if industry awards are quiet affairs, Jeggs and PC Waller took receipt of their national sports writing awards (YES, JEGGS AND WALLER ARE AWARD WINNIG SPORTS WRITTERS), the entirety of the Pembroke coast were aware that we were from Hampshire, and we were there to stay.

And so we must return to the beginning of our tale; the punishment.

Chapter Four: A Northerner Suffers

Sadly in the last year I have had to have a dog put down. I think it is an amazing example of why we love dogs so much as they seem to know that the end is neigh, but accept it with a look on your eyes that is heartbreaking.

Chris had just had a jug golfballed for the second time in an hour. His look of sadness and self-pitying could have melted lead. His deep sorrowful eyes reminded me of my old family dog, the acceptance and love made me think of Harper. She passed away whilst I held her in my arms. She walked through dark desert to the eternal sleep, her steps softened by my tears.

“Do I really have to do this again Jeggs?” he asked with his unblinking eyes.

I said nothing. He seemed rueful, and I nodded. He was aware of his fate. I had seen the death of another bright young thing.

For someone who has a sexual desire to go running, he had a very good aptitude to the drink. Too good it was decided, we must give him more drink. He was not very well.

He was very unwell.

Postscript

Dear reader, I am well aware I have manage to write for over one thousand words without really saying anything at all. But isn’t that the point of Cricket? Just while away the time.

Post-Postscript

Thanks to Baz, Stevie and Skip; without you this tour would never have happened.

The exact opposite of thanks to Trius, you know what you did.

*This is the last mention I will make to peoples respective constituency’s. It is a pain in the arse to remember/look then up. I thought we all voted for Brexit to avoid this sort of extra paperwork.

Day 3

Good evening Vags! Sandwiched between our two resident national sports writing award winners… I’m here to tell you about the events of Day 3.

Come Sunday, sleepy Vags roused themselves and hopped into various oversized transport machines for round 2 at the café. The owner didn’t share our optimism for the weather and suggested we dine inside that day – doing Stevie’s morning sweats no favours. Full English’s for most, a fishy smorgasbord for Trev, and a kiddies portion for the Colonel, whose six and a half minute shower (timed by Ken) had cost him an earlier lift and a clip round the ear from the Welsh water board. We soon fell into a nice rhythm of fueling and rehydrating, distracted only by an aggressive barista and Table 2.

A quick trip back to base camp to pick up the cricketing utensils for some, a quick dip in the Irish sea for others, and soon the Mexican diplomatic convoy was on the move again, thankfully arriving at the ground without incident.

Rosco, a late call up for the injured Sammy, did not bring his whites to the ground, so sure was he that no cricket would be played that day and he would soon retire to the Shed to finish what he started on Friday. How wrong he was. It was a wet pitch but against the predictions of every weather app owned by the Vags, the clouds held their sodden cargo. A Hundred game was briefly suggested but that was a step too far from tradition and we met somewhere in the middle with a 20/20 game agreed.

Bill opened from the pavilion end and was clinically punished for some slightly loose bowling. 24 from the first and the win-ometer was already offering long odds on a Vags win. However, Stevie reined in the run rate with some much tighter bowling, conceding only 8 runs from his final three overs and finishing his spell with a maiden. His talented nephew worked the Ocean-end well and went on take a very fine three wickets before making way for a second spell duo of Rik Waller and Nokes. A handy innings from E. James saw him retire on 52 – whether he simply wanted to share the crease or nervously noticed Jeggs and Skip loosening up, we’ll never know. Other than a smart run-out from Rik, no further wickets were taken and after a tidy final over from Jeggs, Llanrhian finished up with 159 for 4. A daunting chase, but first things first, some unfinished business with tea … which was once again fantastic, the beige tri-factor of pork pie, scotch egg and sausage roll is surely unrivalled amongst cricket tea spreads.

S. Hyde 0-32
W. Perton 3-28
A.W-Davies 1-48
T. Nokes 0-27
R. Boote 0-14
R. Hyndman 0-11

Tris and Trev opened the batting in metronymic fashion, singles ticking along nicely punctuated by some crashing fours. But the run rate was never on our side and the Vags knew we needed to push the runs along. The pressure was evident with our top three all out caught going for a boundary – Tris the standout with a useful 40. Some run contributions from Chris B, Rik and Tommy P, but the Vags never really got into a rhythm. Postle let the reality of the situation get to him when running for a challenging quick single appeared fruitless and he started walking down the wicket. Despite a misfield at the stumps, he was committed to walking and on the second time of asking the bails were removed. This moment, along with a huge 6 from Perts, gave the crowd something to smile about before the inevitable final ball was bowled and the Vags bowed out for a spirited 120. A very tight bowling display from Llanrhian with wickets shared across five bowlers.

Trius – 40
Trev – 12
Boots – 5
Chris B – 10
Jeggs – 0
Postle – 16
Waller – 7
Perts – 12

The evening then fell into a familiar pattern starting with jacketless Vags getting the wheels in motion with frequent trips to the bar. Stevie was making friends with the opposition by introducing them to golf balling, picking a particularly full, cold and bubbly carling as his first victim. A few jaeger bombs to pick up the tempo and we moved to our banqueting corner for some more mouthwatering (mouth scalding in STD’s case) dishes. I have the full fish pie recipe noted in my phone, happy to pass on to any domesticated Vags.

Stui orchestrated a competitive game of killer, Trius marshalled the fines and Chris continued to be very very bad at golf for the second night running, much to Rosco’s delight. It’s difficult to pick Chris’ finest moment from the night but golf balling our patient taxi driver Wynn is up there, along with a jug of ale incident that played out in a similar way to the Saturday night.

Fin.

Great tour! Hope you’re all wintering well.

Tom

Day 4

Side B. “Day 4”, read by Stephen Fry.

And so, the cars of various Vags circled like wagons, ready for departure. Showers were taken, bags packed. Refreshment was scoffed down, as usual brekky spot was closed (which we pretended was really nice because it made it “authentic”, but we actually found fucking irritating because we were all hungry).

I was heading back with Messrs Brown (driving) and Nokes (acting as greater bearded tit in the back seat). We all exchanged handshakes and hugs with each other and people set off on their respective journeys.

As Chris took the handbrake off, we all said how good the tour had been. The accommodation was spot on – having the whole place to ourselves was great. We will never know how hypothetically enjoyable it may have been to ruin some poor elderly couple’s walking holiday .. but that is probably a good thing.

We then settled on a plan. Drive until we get to a suitable service station for lunch.

Easier said than done. Within ten minutes, we found ourselves in an uncomfortable situation. What Google Maps claimed was a road, turned out to be a narrow track that was being used as a driveway. We could see that the end of this track did indeed lead to a road, but unfortunately a black Volvo estate was parked, blocking our route. Furthermore, we had driven so far down this track, that reversing was near impossible.

The apparent owner of said Volvo was trimming the boundaries of his garden with a particularly violent looking hedge trimmer and an all too brazen approach to personal safety. He also appeared to be totally unaware of our presence.

We were therefore stuck. Option 1. Toot the horn and witness a local man possibly cut his own head off? Might put a dampener on a brilliant tour and, much worse, delay proceedings by several hours. Or, option 2, as we opted for, wait until Volvo man acknowledged our presence. Sensible, pragmatic, yes.

One minute goes by. Then another. And a third. We begin to giggle. “What is going on?” turns to “There’s no way he still doesn’t know we’re here, surely”. But still no response from the man diligently going about his gardening. Five minutes pass before Mr Brown says “I think I better have a word”. Timed to perfection, as Chris exits the vehicle, the man disappears from view to the rear of his property. Superb.

Chris eventually managed to locate the man and ask him to move his car, only to realise once back inside his own vehicle, that the permanent marker that had been used to tattoo him during the previous evening’s antics was indeed permanent, which fully explained Volvo man’s perplexed reaction to a being accosted by a babbling, hungover Geordie.

We finally made good progress. Burger King did not disappoint and neither did Bob Mortimer’s podcast “Athletico Mince”. Well worth a listen if you are not familiar.

And finally, we were home. An excellent tour we all decided. Will jackets be purchased for next time? Hopefully. Will nets be visited in the winter? Probably. Will cricket happen next year? Definitely.

Washington CC 29th August 2021 Home - Drawn

Well the sequence of events that leads me to writing this is more circuitous than normal; agreeing to have some beers at the Sun after the match with Skip and any other recruits, perhaps a few more than usual as there was a music festival on which led to the (on reflection) singularly one-way conversation about who should write the match report; and so here we find ourselves dear reader!

My limited and useless protestations centred around the fact that the match reports are too stressful. Skip deftly sidestepped this argument by saying that that’s because some (certainly including me) try too hard to be like Jeggings or Señor Gale and doubtless this is true; my own two attempts would be a case in point, ‘res ipsa loquitur’. Righto then, easy enough just report on the match! As such todays offering is therefore the ‘no frills’ version, a budget escape from the norm, a National Express coach trip to Skegness no less and not first-class travel to one’s yacht in the Caribbean you may have been expecting; the kicker? “just make it funny, it has to be funny!”, brilliant!

So the scene was set for the days encounter with gentle reminders from Baz that the fixture “As I previously stated Washington CC are one of our longest fixtures going back to the sixties, I do not want to let them down” and the Skipper must have heeded this sentiment as his was actually, really and genuinely there before time. It was a forlorn site however, Skipper slightly aside from the crowd supping alone on an ale that he had brought with him as no recruits were found for pre-match beers but he won the toss and elected to field first.

I found myself at my normal quiet corner of the outfield in the position of ‘Square Leg’ and started chatting to the oppo member known (unoriginally) as Kiwi, commented that our slips were all very relaxed and chewing the fat, specifically that they had probably been watching too much Test cricket, I , perhaps in modest defence, stated that this was what the Vags were all about; enjoying the day, trying to win of course but the latter after the former and he agreed he had played this fixture for 16 or so years would even like to join the Vags if he lived closer and it was clear that this was a fixture cherished by the opposition as well.

Opening the bowling attack for the Vags was Tom Humphries and Max Hill, it was a good start both finding line, length and pace that belied the casual nature of play discussed at square leg. Tom found the stumps first despatching their opener for nought with 7 runs on the board and then a fine riposte from Max, caught by Skip, taking the other for 20 with a total of 34. Humphries then hit home and their third batsman, out for 6, still overall for 34. Max with all the hunger and vigour of his youth took another wicket, cleanly bowled their number 5 for 9 and the total lingered at 47; the Vags scented victory. It must be said that the number 5 (Nisar, we will hear more of him later) had a cricket shot which was no holds barred power and aggression, the ball became a lethal projectile after contact with his bat and had he not been taken for 9 it would almost certainly have reached 90.

The runs then drifted away from us however, and it took a change in bowlers to make a further breakthrough, Skip came on to bowl, briefly joined by Hill Senior, and took the next wicket LBW, their 6th batsman for 14 runs and the total expanding to 94 and then in quick succession their number 4 who had been racking up the runs and was bowled out for 37 with the team total of 97.

Batsman Imran had settled in by this point and a 50-partnership developed with batsman number 8. I am not sure we showered ourselves in glory in the field and Luke tried his best to force a breakthrough but did not entirely find his groove, not helped by some dropped catches or opportunities at least. Trevor did some hedge diving in a valiant attempt to breakthrough Tom like an electron seemed to occupy two places at once was always near but never close enough to catch the ball which landed short and long.

Max and Tom were re-deployed and a breakthrough came with the score now 148, with number 8 out to a fine delivery from Tom and getting only 7 runs which itself is a testament to the batting we saw from Imran. It was a weary team however that then endured a final partnership of 76 before their number 9 was out for 34 and a total score of 214; bowled by Max and caught by the Skipper. Imran was not out with a total score of 78 and a fine innings performance.

Final bowling tally for wickets taken was Max; 47 for 3 (9.2), Tom; 82 for 3 (12) and Skip; 22 for 2 (4)

Tea, well not so much of that these days but I did nibble on some crisps offered from Tris which eliminated 90% of my taste buds they were so spicy and some Biltong from Skip.

We were keen to crack on and see what we could do with a formidable score to beat. I was asked to umpire and started on the field with Trev leading the decision making and me discovering that there was some more to this than standing there counting balls; Chair would love me to have been paying attention as to whether the ball had been over waist height but sadly I had not been so observant.

James and Tris started the proceedings but Tris only managed one boundary before being bowled by the afore mentioned Nisar, which was a theme of the day for the Vags, returning to the pavilion with a partnership of 20. Nisar was fast and accurate and Skip was the next to fall for a single run, caught behind and a team score not looking good at just 27. Dick mountain was surprisingly bowled cleanly for no runs and Nisar had his 3rd scalp with a team total of just 31.

Chair managed a decent flurry of boundaries and an innings total of 32 but was victim to a ball from Nisar and well caught in the field and the team total was now 44. Our hope then shifted to the steady hand of Hampshire’s most prolific cricketer; Trevor was looking good despite the cricket pads borrowed from a Victorian hospital for children disabled with Polio and was thrilled, after a flurry of boundaries and runs, to be given LBW from Luke who had replaced him as the decision maker on the field (thank goodness for me). Trevor had added 14 runs with a combined score of 58.

The uphill battle continued; Tom managed 12 before being bowled and then Max settled in for a fine innings performance and showed us all what this batting malarkey was meant to be about. Stuart Broad had a good knock after a bit of time in the net with Tris managing a score of 10 bowled by Nisar for his commendable 5th wicket and Sammy was given out LBW for an unexpected 1 run.

My own performance was a revolving door to the pavilion rather than long road to glory. I had been discussing my strategy with Tris and Skip whilst observing the tour de force that Nisar was and the helpful advice given was get in front of the stumps with pads and bat. I had already defended the stumps once that day from Teddys attempt to mark his territory and took off my umpire’s coat which I had been wearing in defence of the unduly cold weather and strolled to the crease. I think I only faced a single delivery but the advice given may have been heeded a little too well for a day that the Vags umpires gave 3 LBW decisions in favour of the bowling attack, of which I was unlucky number 3. That was that then, season over for another year for me!

Luke made his way to the centre but we had by this point ran out of overs and whilst Luke did not get the opportunity to score Max had deservedly got his first 50 and a total score of 60 with a final team score in the end of 153. We were I think all elated to have managed the draw but had certainly all enjoyed the sporting encounter.

Things were quickly put away with beer in mind and it was off to the Sun. Many of the opposition joined us for a couple of drinks and they are, if you have the opportunity to play them next year, a good bunch and we all had a good time with them and each other.

Players drifted away with many parting for the final time this season and Skip, Stuart and myself stayed for an enthusiastic flurry of beers. We discovered whilst chatting away that the Mullet is still a thing (I had always taken Tris to the exception the literal strawberry exception if you will), that it is not the done thing to shake hands at both ends of a first date and that women sitting at a table have the capacity to smuggle the undercarriage of a C130 cargo plane beneath the waterline of the table with no one the wiser until they stand up. Boyed along by the music of talented 20 somethings rearranged for the 50-year-old gigging musician but it was good fun and certainly an enjoyable end to the season.

So, our journey ends dear reader on the National Express, our no-frills trip to the end of the season for the Vags. I look forward to nets in the winter and better weather for next year’s cricket. My best wishes for the final match on Saturday and a splendid tour for all involved. As such in and keeping with the song by the Divine Comedy:

Tomorrow belongs to me

When you’re sad and feeling blue

With nothing better to do

Don’t just sit there feeling stressed

Take a trip on the National Express

On the National Express

Let’s go!

Paul Abbott

Valley End CC 18th July 2021 Home- Won

‘Eleven are together again’

“What an exciting time we had! I really did enjoy every minute of it.”

Chapter One The Eleven were reunited.

A picture perfect scene was waiting for the Vagabonds at their rather lovely home ground down the lane at Bentworth CC, the sun hot and high in the expectant clear blue sky. The pitch still surprisingly green completed an idyllic scene for the Eleven to meet with regular rivals; Valley End for the days sporting encounter.

I arrived with Teddy the dog to a smattering of Vagabonds amongst the opposition, like poppies in the corn before the gang arrived all cheer and laughter, some still sporting fizzy refreshments in hand. What a great pleasant surprise to see Jock again amongst the new arrivals clearly very excited about his last exeat trip to Blighty before his summer hols.

Dick our skipper (always a stickler for timekeeping) immediately sought out the opposition Captain to stride to the middle and the day started off well with Dick winning the toss! He decided that we should bat first and we were all thrilled.

Jock had met with a few of his English chums the night before and we heard story’s that entertained us all as the opening Batsman walked to the crease. Uncle Stephen noted that, he by pure coincidence, knew four different girls that all natives of an island in Greece called Lesbos; ‘lez-bee-uhns’, we found this to be a queer coincidence but this island sounded exotic and rather lovely which captured our imagination.

Dear, dear Jock kept us further entertained with accounts of his recent quarantine experience in his Caledonian homeland, he was so proud of the Scottish First Minister and her single handed attempts to keep her countrymen safe from the beastly virus that had made so many people feel quite queer and under the weather. It was strange really as she sounded to us all to be much more House Captain than Head Boy but we were so very pleased to listen to Jocks ripping tales that it did not matter.

Chapter Two The Eleven make a stand.

Uncle Jim and Triston settled in at the crease, jolly excited to open on such a day under the endless sky. Poor old Uncle Jim was reunited with his friends again after just 10 balls for 1 run, rotten luck but no harm was done and Dick made his way out to the centre.

A fine 52 run partnership between Dick and Triston commenced with some fine cricket to regale the spectators; balls were trimming the green canopy of surrounding trees as they were hit for 6 and boundaries galore before uncharacteristic misjudgement saw poor old Skipper out for 32 after 30 stifling minutes under the sun. Little Tommy Noakes then moved to keep Triston company but the determined expression he carried along with all of our collective expectation was only to come to a unexpected 3 after meekly hitting the ball for an easy catch, bad luck Tommy we all thought what rotten luck.

The Reverend Trevor, gods own Cricketer who plays for nearly every team in Hampshire then approached the middle. The combined batting efforts for Triston and the Rev Trev made the game safe in the 53 partnership that developed. Weary at the crease Triston was rather disappointed to be bowled for 47 just short of a much deserved 50, beastly luck old boy we chimed!

Uncle Stephen who had arranged for the drinks monitors to provide refreshments at 20 overs was confounded when they with great remiss had not got the drinks ready at the 17th over, Silly old Uncle Stephen we all thought he is such a clot!

By this time Lucky Lukey was in the middle picking his shots and settling in. Incredulous to the umpiring decision of Dick, the umpire on point, he fell fowl to his leg obstructing the wicket, loud yells from the opposition endorsed the decision from the umpire to give the batsman out for 6 and not so lucky Luke (as it transpired) walked back to the pavilion.

The Vagabonds favourite own Willy Perton then set about the opposition steering the lower orders with command and direction. Stewart Best took up the mantle in the middle belting 3 boundaries in as many balls but misjudging the next for a bowlers victory. Myself, well, with a few swipes at the ball and occasional reassuring sound of leather on willow and waggling of the bat was overly optimistic and the bails tumbled and I scampered back to the pavilion for naught which was made better for being reunited with Teddy the dog who knew better than to not expect me back for some time.

Uncle Stephen replaced me at the front and seemed to be on fine form but a beastly delivery took him by surprise and was out for 1. Jock who had been so keen to get his moment in front of the stumps strolled confidently to the middle. Runs commenced and even a boundary, this was too good to be true! Alas it was, Jock ran up the wicket to smash their teenage leg spinner into the middle of Michaelmas term, he ran and swung halfway up the pitch, missed, tried to run back to get in, slipped, dived and tumbled in a heap. There were hoots of laughter from both teams but it was sadly in vain as he was indeed bowled out. Willy was 28 runs and not out at the close of play and had certainly helped the team to a healthy score of 179.

Chapter Three Luncheon and the riposte

There was much merriment at the pavilion as the personal bounty each had brought for the game was consumed or offered for others to enjoy. Uncle Stephen had arranged for Mrs Hyde his kindly cook to bake not one but two cakes, a lemon Drizzle that Triston had colloquially described as “that lemon drizzle was top bizzle shizzle ma nizzle” and a rather fine Ginger cake to boot. Great Uncle Bartholomew or Baz as he preferred came to join us for lunch and the eleven were briefly twelve.

Some of the other chaps kept likening Jock to ‘James Hunt’ which I rather suspected was misplaced, he was more Jackie Stewart than James Hunt but it was such a jolly occasion I did not think to correct them especially as this was indeed the lunch of sporting champions not the strange choice that James Hunt made for his brekkie in the morning. Jock was sporting a pair of three quarter length trousers exaggerated by his towering demeanour but we were all jolly glad he was not wearing a kilt!

Not knowing if the 179 was enough to win the day we took to the field. Willie and Uncle Stephen opened the bowing attack; Willie with his Fast seam/swing bowling and Uncle Stephen with his Seam/swing bowling action. Willie started strong with a maiden over and wicket by his third, Uncle Stephen not to be out done took a wicket in his first over with the first two batsman out for 10 and 12 respectively. Rev Trev caught the next batsman for 3 off a delivery from Willie.

Tommy then took over from Uncle Stephen after his 4 over spell (for 27) with some Off spin and his own 4 overs which saw a sublime ball both caught and bowled by Tommy in spectacular style eventually taking just the one wicket for 24.

Lucky Lukey took over at the other end with some Left arm spin and was not rewarded (again not so Lucky) as he should have been with a wicket but kept the score down to just 12 runs from 5 overs. Dick the Skipper contributed 5 overs for just 29 with two wickets; a catch and sound LBW delivery with more fine Off spin bowling. The chaps at school always said ‘catches win matches’ and as a team Rev Trev, Stewart Best and Tom all proving what a safe pair of hands looks like for a winning team in the field.

Wille came back on to bowl and managed to take the prize wicket of their 6th batsman who had become a real stick in the mud eventually getting a fine 64 for Valley End but stayed on with Jock to finish off the tail. Jock was using a style of bowling called ‘slow bowling’ which was akin to the legendary Swordfish being used to attack the Bismarck; surprisingly effective at befuddling the batsman with the last wickets taken for no runs apiece.

Willie Perton towered above all in the field combined with his batting contribution this match which may be down to being frustratingly sober or perhaps now a proud dad of two but we were all grateful for his attendance. The opposition were defeated in the end for 11 and the day belonged to the eleven.

Chapter Four Refreshments and Farewells

With a sense of relief to be out of the sun all the days paraphernalia was put away, and the teams faces lighted up immediately with the mere mention of refreshment at the Spiritual home of the Vagabonds; the Sun Inn. All Eleven made it and there was some warm interaction with the fine opposition from the days sporting engagement and Willie was especially pleased to stay for an ale or two after they had left encouraging us all to have another (and another).

What a gay and exciting time we had! I really did enjoy every minute of it. We said our goodbyes and with a hint of melancholy waved Jock goodbye, it had been great to see him again and he assured us he would make the trip again soon, waving goodbye cheerfully with his catchphrase “see you next Tuesday!”.

Match report: Abbott Paul Enid-Blyton

Pyestock CC 6th June 2021 Home - Lost

The players: J.Harding, T.Hutchins, R.Boote, S.Berryman, T.Edwards, R.Hill, L.Harding,
M.Gale, T.Nokes, P.Abbot, M.Hill

The cover to the Bentworth baptismal font was gifted by Martha Hunt in 1605 and one wonders what events she foresaw when placing a ‘cricket ball’ at its apex. She and her husband were well connected, so would have attended the performances of William Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth and King Lear in that year………

When shall we four meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain?

As I toodle my way down toward Bentworth on this brooding, overcast day, I allow the fears of every cricketer to creep into my consciousness…Will the weather hold? Might we get a full day’s uninterrupted play? Oh please God yes, for my first match of the season! The only sun to be found at midday is at our favourite inn, but at least there are four to enjoy over a pint of Estrella– the three smiling signs outside and Daisy’s sunny disposition to greet me at the bar! I sit outside, bravely withstanding the cool breeze and, even more courageously, displaying the new Vags t-shirt, ignoring the sticky, sweaty sensation of the iron-on sticker against my aroused nipples. The good-humoured arrival of Boots, Tommy and Stevie and another pint provide ample distraction.

Two teams, both alike in status, in fair Bentworth where we lay our scene

And so to our beautiful ground and the joyful appreciation of natural banter and honest opportunity to catch up with friends old and new! Boots meantime loses the toss and invites in portents of misfortune that so niggle at the superstitious spirit of the cricketer: “We win more often when we field first”, “We’re better at chasing runs than putting up a big score”…all ridiculous fantasy based on a modicum of truth that gets elevated to fact and unerring belief! He says he probably would have chosen to bat, looking at the wicket. We swallow the pill of optimism. The opening bowler is young and athletic with a useful-looking action but doesn’t seem to trouble Jimmy or Trius, both carefully playing themselves in. The second bowler lumbers in with less venom and three maidens pass by before a boundary is finally scored.

A run! A run! My kingdom for a run!

Then Trius falls for the Botham-esque trickery of a long hop from their opener, mistimes his forward lunge and the ball loops lazily to mid-on. Boots saunters in ready to blast his way to another century; three boundaries confirm his intent, but soon after the opener repeats his ‘beefy’-like tactic and it’s an ‘action-replay’ of Trius’s dismissal including a perfect imitation of the downcast body language, the disappointed glance at the sky, followed by the straight stare at the ground on the painful journey back to the clubhouse, pursued by quietly muttered condolences from sympathetic team mates. No need to panic, we have a strong team on paper with plenty of batting to come. Stevie B is another great ‘accumulator’, even though he has had a recent poor run of luck. Today could be his day though!
It isn’t. He and Jimmy are caught behind and an air of disquiet percolates in the background, lifted partially by Trev’s energetic batting and boundaries, only to be re-cemented by Richie’s duck! The omens are looking bad 19-2…19-3…23-4…for a brief moment the negativity is reversed as Lukey fires off a couple of boundaries… before he too is caught.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so

This, coincidentally, brings on ‘Cementos’, a mite early in the proceedings – due in at number 10 but, anticipating the worst, he’s already sitting on a bench padded up, holding back nervous wee from warming his pouch – as Tommy’s lethargy and cat-like stretching routine has found him out, pad-less.
Ah, the pathology of cricket. Cementos tentatively accustoms himself to life in the batting crease – well, for the first 3 overs, just to life in the “bowling crease” – as Trev cleverly engineers keeping the strike. Then at last he must face his demons and battle with indecision and impetuosity as the first balls are launched. Only to find that the bowling is innocuous, that everyone has indeed just been getting themselves out, that actually this could be fun! Apprehension swiftly flips into over-exuberance and Trev is having to coach him out of barking unclear calls such as…”GO!…GO!…GO!” or “One, just one, JUST ONE!”….

His mantra? “There are only three calls to use, Mikey – Yes, No, or Wait – got it?”

Cementos eats humble pie while Trev moves on to other prey as he admonishes the opposition slip catcher for rudely keeping up a constant commentary during ball deliveries. Despite these annoyances he admirably continues to keep the scoreboard busy until finally he trundles off after a useful 23.
But 74-7 is still not much to shout about. Tommy has by now got himself together and contributes a further elegant 17 – excepting the one huge “air swat” that almost wrenches his shoulder in an effort to complete a 360 degree heave…there’s a loud appeal for caught behind before someone realises that the click they heard was his shoulder taking a short break from the shackles of his socket. Meanwhile Cementos plays runless anchor at the other end before they are both gone and it is left to Paulie and Maximus Decimus Meridius to becalm the troubled waters of our sinking ship. Paulie spends the next half hour adopting memorable poses of Henry Moore-like sculptures or paralysed stick insects, remaining motionless as ball after ball loops over his reducing frame, leaving the bowlers mystified by his zen. Meantime Max embodies the destiny of humanity, displacing his father’s failure by catapulting the paternal genes into his own cultivated batting performance, carrying his bat for 33! Paulie’s steadfast game of Grandma’s statues is finally exposed by a straight bowl at the wicket………and we are 140 all out…at least something to bowl at!

If cricket be the food of love, play on!

Oh what happiness, the doom-laden weather forecast has been smashed and our scorn for the vagaries of the English climate rewarded with a virtual drought, blue skies and sunshine! Private teas have been scoffed and Max has opened the bowling with an outrageous display of fine seam and swing bowling. At the other end, Cementos has been surprised into yet another early debut…Boots has divined something nobody can anticipate…unadulterated luck!

The lady doth protest too much, methinks!

In the second ball of his over, Cementos cannot believe his eyes, neither can Jimmy at the other end as he shouts “Jaffa”! The off stump rocks slightly, a bail hits the ground, their opening bat is bowled. All the world becomes a stage for a Colombian celebration that requires Trius’s composure to settle down. Max soon follows suit and then lo and behold their number 3 bat, having boshed a few boundaries, reaches unlucky 13 and skies one so high that 10 of us have a chat while queuing to catch it….only to be scattered away by the repeated, unadulterated screaming of: “mine, mine, MINE!, MINE!!” …from Trev no less, once more clearly making his call! And so our joy is turning toward hope. Max bowls another beauty and their number 5 takes a walk….

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate

Is there anything more delicious and awesome on a summer’s day than the sight of two spinners at either end plying their trade so sweetly and expertly as Lukey and Tommo?! What a great combination! The odd boundary is a happy price to pay as Lukey puzzles their batsmen constantly and Tom holds his end up really well with an accurate, consistent length…if you see what I mean. He is unlucky not to strike. Lukey takes out their highest scorer (33) with an LBW that leaves the batsman disconsolately bemused, and then Boots weighs in with a few overs too and ably removes their captain, the second highest scorer (27).

The course of any match never did run smooth

Runs continue to trickle though. Richie comes on for a spell but perhaps his son has taken all his luck! Boots and Trius work hard on setting the fielding, impressed by Paulie’s new-found mobility, interpreting and directing different positions for the clueless Cementos, and moving Stevie around like a reluctant chess piece a few paces here and there. But the opposition continue to eke out the runs and suddenly the total begins to look as weak as reality demands we accept.

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them…

But let the final praise and comment go to ‘our’ man of the match – Maximus Hill no less! On for a second spell he continued to bowl beautifully, lifting our hopes and our spirits one last time by removing their number 8 bat, before we succumbed. Most runs (33) and most wickets (3). What more could one ask for? And what a talent to revel in while he is around to share them with us!

Are you sure that we are awake? It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream….

And so the day ended, with disappointment, yet filled also with the bonhomie and competitiveness that is the Vags trademark. What a joy to be back at the ground and at the Sun, deep in banter and conversation with clubmates not seen since Trump cancelled talks with the Taliban, sacked his third national security adviser and Rafa was winning the US Open for the fourth time….
Nice, really nice…to just drink a pleasant pint or two and let off steam…..quite appropriate considering our opposition: Pyestock CC – originally started and sponsored in 1947 by the National Gas Turbine Establishment!

Oh…go one then…one last quote…No WAIT!…OK YES!…No, no WAIT…ok GO, GO, GO!!!!

 

How oft when men are at the point of death, have they been merry!
Which their wicket keepers call a lightning before death……ahhh
To be out or not to be out? That is always the question!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newport Inn CC 9th May 2021 Home - Won

As the Jegg-mobile sped through the Hampshire countryside at 11.57 am on Sunday, Skips and Jeggs were observing a moments silence alongside the radio in memory of the footballer Alan Mcloughlin. This quiet moment of remembrance was shattered when Jeggs exclaimed “Oh cripes! Golly what a fool that driver is” as a car and a trailer veered across the road in front of us, or words to that effect at least. This unexpected brush with death and reminder of our own mortality made us reconsider what we thought was important to us. We sacked off our planned trip Longleat Safari park and decided we should go to the pub and play some cricket. 5 minutes later we were sat outside The Sun basking in the warm air, looking forward to getting the match underway on time a short while later.

Our opposition for the day were the gentlemen of Newport Inn Cricket Club. A distinguished looking bunch of chaps who were waiting for us at the ground when we arrived for the toss. Out strolled the two skippers, one (I forget who) carrying a pint out with him.

Due to Chair’s involvement we started the match ten minutes late as he strolled out to open the batting with Trius. After getting off to a solid start Chair was unlucky to be caught a bowled off of a shot that almost broke the sound barrier. The look of amazement on the bowlers face maybe showing how unfortunate Mr Harding was. In strode Skip, without a pint glass but with a steely look of determination in his eyes. The kind of look that could fry a cat at fifty paces. Whilst Trius was playing nicely, the hard hitting from our leader brought about a 49 ball fifty. Not too long after Trius joined in with a half century of his own before being stumped for 77. Skip was joined by Steve Berryman as he pushed on to a 79 ball ton. The final runs coming from a huge 6 over the road end. After this Skip retired on 105, to mutters of “about bloody time” from the fielders. Trev joined Steve out there for a few overs before the Vagabonds were called back in. A total of 250 – 2 (declared) off of 36 overs. Quite a remarkable performance.

R Boote 105 (retired)

T Hutchins 77

S Berryman 30

 

Tea was what whatever people and made for themselves and some cider.

When the Vags strode out onto the field of greatness they knew a first victory of the season was within their gnarled grasped. Stevie Hyde opened from the road end, it was thought best to keep him occupied in case he decided to slowly meander closer to the horses in the adjacent paddock. Si Allen took the Trevor Edwards Memorial Fence end and the run rate was kept low. Very low. Newport reached double digits in the 7th over due to some lovely bowling and oddly energetic fielding. Tom Nokes took over and soon bowled their handy number 2. Luke Harding twirled his arms for the first time in 18 months and soon enough a remarkable milestone was reached. His 300th Vagabond wicket, sensational stuff! Whilst runs were not an issue, wickets were. With 16 overs left we still needed to get 6 out. A final throw of the tactical dice from Skip and Jeggs was added to the attack. It went better than last time. Skip then put himself into the fray and mopped up the tail. Skip’s final figures for the day of 105 (retired) and 4 wickets for 4 runs is truly one of the great Vags performances. The final 6 batsmen added a combined total of 2 runs, and Newport were all out for 119 with 5 overs remaining (73 of these runs came from their opener). Great stuff!

R Boote 4 – 1 – 4 – 4

L Harding 10 – 3 – 17 – 3

R Hyndman 2 – 0 – 11 – 2

Many beers were had, the opposition joining us in the pub for a jolly good time and toasting Lukes fantastic achievement.

As the Jegg-mobile drove back through the Hampshire countryside the two occupants took another moment of silence to contemplate the day’s events. It had been most enjoyable they decided and it would be best to do it again soon. Longleat would just have to wait.

Jeggs

 

Steve Berryman goes large

 

 

 

Broadhalfpenny Down CC 4th May 2021 Away - Drawn

How I’ve missed cricket. Earlier on in the week just gone, I’d plonked myself down on the sofa and enjoyed some of Amazon’s “The Test”. Favourite parts from the first couple of episodes include but are not limited to: (1) England spanking Australia in an ODI series, and, (2) infamous hard man, David Warner, blubbering through an apology about how he’d abused the baggy green. For those also lining Bezos’ pockets, I’d thoroughly recommend the documentary.

Sunday started so well. I joined Jeggs in the Hydester-mobile for the drive down. We laughed heartily as we remembered a previous encounter against this opposition during which Al Whitman’s mushroom bites were taken advantage of. As we swung into the car park, even more familiar, smiling faces were seen. Ales were enjoyed from Skip Boote’s car boot as layers upon layers were packed on by chilly Vags – the wind doing no one any good. Steve Berryman had forgotten that Broad Halfpenny Down wasn’t Dubai, dressed in chino shorts and flip flops. Poor choice Sir.

Skip won the toss and chose to field – the theory (I think) that the wind would only get worse and those not batting could be wrapped up by during the coldest part of the afternoon.

Mr Charlie Preston, after a couple of sighters, took the opening wicket in his opening over. Jay went for no score, caught well by Tweaker. Whilst Chazzer came running down the hill, Stevie H came up it, into the wind and bowled with laser like accuracy and subdued aplomb. Such good bowling deserved a reward. In the 6th over, with a scores at 11/1 a Hyde delivery was slapped low and hard to me at mid on. I, despite getting two hands to it, did not take this chance, leading me to wonder if my lift back to The Big Smoke was guaranteed come 7pm. My error aside, Vags CC fielded really well. The two Toms (Humphrey & Postle) stand out in my mind in particular – both putting their bodies on the line for the cause. A special mention also to James “Chair” Harding, whose wicket keeping rendition of ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes’, not only bought smiles to faces, but kept the run rate down.

Rich Hill came on to bowl, replacing Stevie, and bowled some nice spin. Those not playing won’t be surprised to hear he picked up two wickets. One was very useful indeed. Brigands’ number 4, Waktore, was timing the ball beautifully and had sent a few shots crashing to the fence. However, he was removed, caught by Trius for 24. Hill Snr. unfortunately had to stop bowling mid-over, due to a shoulder injury and the ball was thrown to me. “Just finish off the over please Rik” a simple instruction from Skip, which surely would be followed to the letter. What could go wrong?

In hindsight, a stretch, a couple of practice balls, looking at the pitch, remembering that I am in fact in control of my own limbs, anything preparatory in any way would have been sensible bearing in mind I hadn’t played cricket for around two years. I decided against all of the aforementioned however, and chucked the ball a yard down the off side for a wide. Followed by another. And another. I over adjusted and bowled one down the leg side next. “Good variation Rik” came from someone – I can’t remember (and don’t want to know) who. I ended up bowling a 10 (ten) ball over. Not bad you say? Well, you’d be wrong. Please remember that I was “just finishing off the over” and only needed two legal deliveries.

Skip and Tweaker came on to bowl spin at either end, and attempt to claw the game back, as Brigands’ debuting number 5, Luderburg, began knocking it around the park with gusto. Humphrey’s bowled superbly, taking two nice wickets. “The trick is to not let it spin on some occasions – just to confuse them” T. Humphrey’s chuckled as a full bunger bowled their number 7, Northwood. Brigands took the interesting decision to declare with one over to go, as they notched up 207/7.

D. Luderburg 80*
A. Ainsley 28
Extras 22

C. Preston 11 – 0 – 47 – 3
S. Hyde 5 – 1 – 15 – 0
R. Hill 3.4 – 0 – 32 – 2
A. Waller-Davies 3.2 – 0 – 31 – 0
R. Boote 5 – 0 – 38 – 0
T. Humphrey 8 – 0 – 40 – 2

‘Bring your own tea’ and beers were enjoyed with Stevie Hyde doing his best Ted Hastings “Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey” impression and Trius pondering life’s big questions with Jess, his dog – “hmmm, do I eat another pork pie or will I be too full? What do we think Jess?”.

The Vags needing approximately 5 an over and started solidly, getting to around the 40 mark with Chair the only batsman out, a mistimed shot caught off the bowling of Wood.

A couple of quick wickets meant that Steve B and Tom Postle were suddenly in the middle for the Vags. They both hunkered down and batted brilliantly, keeping the win within reach and lower order batsmen (and lesser mortals) back in the shed.

Eventually, the spell was broken with Stevey B the man to depart for a solid 35. Tom kept going however, with several others joining him in the middle with varying success. Chazzer P made a go of it, hammering a few wayward deliveries around, before being bowled off the bowling of Preach. Tom eventually collected his thoroughly deserved half century with a lovely shot to the boundary for four.

I came in and managed to do with my batting what I couldn’t begin to do with my bowling – string together a few dot balls (14 to be precise) and ensure we held on for a second draw of the season.

T. Postle 56*
S. Berryman 35
Extras 26

Those eagle-eyed readers amongst you will wonder why Jeggs hasn’t featured in the playing of this cricket match but was amongst the passengers heading down from London. 6 hours’ worth of scoring in freezing, blustery conditions – all for Vagabonds CC. Three cheers for Jeggs, hip hip….

 

Incident Report logged 5 May 2021 by DCI Rik Waller-Buckles

 

United Oxford Hospitals CC 25 April 2021 Home - Drawn

The long dark night is over, a new dawn is upon us. 2020, much like the 2013 ashes, are a period best forgotten. But we have come through them a little wiser, a little wider, but thankfully for the Vags mostly unscathed.

Our first match this season was against University Oxford Hospitals. The majority of the Vags met at the Sun (lovely to be back) for a few catch up beers. Chair was a late drop out, he claimed it was due to feeling unwell but it was determined it was due to a lack of youngsters in the opposition for him to stump.

Due to Chair not playing, we actually got the match underway early. Skip lost the toss so we were put into Bat. Steve Berryman and Trius (looking good with his 80s German mullet poking out of the bottom of his helmet) strode out to face the first balls of the season. The rest of us admired the views on this lovely April day. The green Hampshire hills rolling downwards towards the weald, four young horses frolicking in a nearby field. The mood was somewhat ruined when Stevie Hyde referred to them as “naughty little teases”. He was promptly sent out to umpire as punishment for his immoral thoughts.

Mr Berryman, who for various other teams this season has had two ducks in a row, was anxious to get off the mark. SO anxious in fact that he Had Trius run out. As a somewhat despondent ironmonger trudged off the field he was called back as the keeper did not have the ball when he broke the stumps. The crowd went wild at this turn of events. Except for Jeggs who was doing the scoring and had to find a rubber.

Steve hung around for a while before being bowled by their handy opener from the road end. In stalked Skip like a lion with his eyes on a young Gazelle. After a huge six into the opposite field, he did not hit another run for 20 balls. Overs 6 through 13 were, stoic. With a few new bowlers however the run rate increased and Skip eventually reached his fifty and with some more huge heaves he was well on his way to his first century of the season.

Whilst Skip was busy going about being good at cricket, on the sidelines we were regaled by Trev’s Circa 1978 Bernard Manning stand-up routine. Have started off with “you probably can’t say this anymore”, what followed were several phrases which make even the most ardent Daily Mail comment section contributor blush. This coupled with Nokes (both Snr & Jnr) putting on an extremely witty double act, it made for a most entertaining 3 and half hours of scoring…

Having reached his ton, Skip was promptly bowled. This brought in Mr Postle who, whilst Trius got a very solid half, was bowled for 24 on the last ball of the innings. 217 seemed about par, but a commendable total.

Mr Boote 100

Mr Hutchins 63*

Mr Postle 24

Tea saw everyone dig into their own Sarnies and a special presentation was made. Our esteemed founder Barrie was presented with his own special chair, to both honor and thank him for everything he has done. Without him, none of us would be there. Photos available on the news section of our website!

Charlie Preston opened the bowling from the Trevor Edwards memorial fence end and after struggling a little initially found some lovely lines and pace and we got our first wicket! Stevie Hyde bowled nicely from the road end, despite the distraction of horses in his sight line, and we made a decent start at restricting them to not many runs. The first change brought in Mr Edwards and Mr Nokes (Jnr). A couple more wickets fell before Skip made one of the biggest tactical decisions of his life: Jeggs was added to the attack. It didn’t work out.

We couldn’t quite get them all out, but neither could they get the runs so a draw was had. UHOCC ended 207 – 6.

Mr Preston 2 – 62

Mr Nokes Jnr 2 – 57

Mr Bootes 1 – 15

Mr Edwards 1 – 19

A very solid start to the season and given the lack of any pre-season training a most commendable performance. The opposition joined us for some celebratory beers in The Sun and a spiffing time was had by all!

Until next week,

Jeggs x